Just a part

I have been involved in a number of settings where I have been invited to bring a prophetic word to a situation in these past months, and given that it is into the current re- situation (re-jig; re-invent; re-new; or re-surrection… i.e. death and loss – only God provides the re- part after this) it can be very challenging indeed. God speaks to encourage and provoke us to embrace the path of life… for sure. But the current climate makes it more difficult to truly see. As I have mentioned before (COVID simply as a sign of things to come) might indicate that we have entered a storm. If so then simply bunker down it will be over soon. If ‘winter’ is a better analogy, then make sure we have enough supplies in place, maybe a candle or two should there be a power cut, etc. But if this, along with what is to come, is an ice age, there will be a before and an after, but something permanent will change and it might not be too clear what the change looks like for a while to come. [I suspect it is somewhere between a winter and an ice age.]

We prophesy in part.

I have understood (and still do) that short phrase to mean we don’t have the whole picture, and it certainly means that. It might even mean (and does practically!!) ‘be a little humble, part of what you prophesy will be from heaven and some from your little preconceived ideas’. But…

Today I am also seeing that it means that if we are truly wrestling with the big question, ‘what does this mean?’ there will be more in our spirits than we can prophesy. More there that we cannot yet articulate. That I find provocative and encouraging. Provocative… don’t stop now… don’t add the full stop…

We can be so quick to move from question #1 to question #2 (‘what are we to do?’) with the assumption we have understood ‘what does this mean?’. (The two questions come from the Day of Pentecost and also from the description of the ‘men of Issachar.) We might have to make a preliminary response related to action (what we need to do), but if there is more sight on the meaning that we are wrestling with the what we are to do can only be a temporary response.

Certainly provocative, and also encouraging. There is more. It is probably OK to make a temporary response. But it will not prove fruitful to conclude it is enough.

Set in sight

Its me again, I get the green font which I do love. Green is life!

I’m not a stickler for traditions (!) And I know it’s traditional to reflect back on a year and tease out a word for the new one however, just this once, I’m feeling like conforming! So, to stick to a tradition, I’d like to mark time.

2020 vision. We definitely have seen a lot this year. We’ve had to look closely at ourselves, what we’re doing and how, who matters and what really motivates us. We’ve looked at our priorities and as society we’ve realised that our nurses and doctors and shop workers are far more important than the billionaires and the stock brokers. Our football heroes were idle and useless and the nameless were acknowledged (hopefully not fleetingly) for their real value.

In the last days of this sight-filled year I think we need to cast our eyes far forward. As though on a mountaintop, we have a moment now to look forward and to reset our direction. A moment to spy destination and to set the compass with a long term goal, think 10 years. The smallest of reset now, the slightest change of position, in ten years will place us in a very different place. I’m talking personally but I think the same moment is there for bodies of people, organisations and businesses where there is a niggling feeling that the traditional way forward won’t cut it.

2021 I think, won’t be so clear, down off the mountaintop and into the clouds below and the valleys but I think with direction set and with courage, we will find ourselves stumbling a bit, but making progress towards that new destination, finding new companions on the way, some unexpected delights and a whole lot of joy.

An anchor

Anchoring the future, preparations now

While in conversation yesterday with Gayle we were trying to make sense of the battle we had to get a foot in the door of Madrid and then effectively being shut out because of the pandemic. With things as they are it will probably be around a year before we can return. We came up with a conviction that I thought might just resonate beyond ourselves and could be a help to others.

I saw a hook thrown into the city, like a grappling hook or even an anchor, a hook that went into the land and caught (for us in Madrid). A stake in the land but something more than that, a hook into the land and our future. We talk of Madrid as a 10 year push, and the next phase being a ten year focus. Now we are in Oliva, practically better and always has been the ”in-between place’, but not what is pulling us forward. Our experience is that this hiatus has been very formative indeed. As well as writing, many video calls, new connections (most of which we would not have had time nor space for had we not been here); we have also ‘seen’ who we are to become over this next season. It has been huge for us…

Not close to the hope of the Gospel but the same principle:

We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain (Heb. 6:19).


So putting this all together. A hook is established into the future to secure it ahead of time. This then is combined with an intense season of preparation for what is to come, not simply preparation as in material etc, but preparation with connections and also internal preparation. The pause button is to enable preparation.

Hope that makes sense, and maybe for some it will resonate and clarify what had been happening in your situation over the past months.

We’re all

We’re all drinking from cups that are too small. There’s a river. And the arrows that we’re firing that were once sharp are now blunt. They miss the target and fall down useless. Someone suggests we need a new box of arrows…

In the middle of the night I woke with this dream and know better than leave it to the morn to try and recall it. My phone was bright and stuck on bold, which was hurting my tired eyes, three times I tried to get back to normal font but the two words We’re all wouldn’t change and stuck as the title.

There is something in this time, this pandemic era, about unlearning and relearning. There’s a stripping away of what we’ve always done and known.

The emphasis on individuals struck me in the dream. Individuals are important; the pandemic is pushing us into smaller and smaller gatherings. Each of us is finding new ways to live and work.

Individuals are truly essential because we are part of a body. Do we know who we are? And are we functioning in our individual roles? Have we lost sight of the richness of diversity? We’re a body made from remarkably varied parts.

Cooperate identity became bland. Homogeny is disfunction.

It’s time for us individually to really know who we are and to re-function in that revelation.

Many people are going to retrain, move job, begin to point themselves in the direction they’ve actually always wanted to go, consciously or not. Old personal identity issues are going to resurface creating the opportunity for new levels of resolution. Who we are matters.

Why are we drinking from cups? The cups are too small. The cups are individual and inadequate. Our font/source has been held in a limited container. Our resources / life will run out unless we reposition ourselves.

There’s a river in front of us all in the dream. There’s a river.

We are invited to go straight to the water, straight to the source of all life and provision and to put our faces in the river and drink. It’s not about intermediate tools or intermediate people. They are both too small. There is a limit. We are individually responsible for how we drink.

…….

I was recently asked to interpret a dream and immediately reacted to a specific image and believed the symbolism to be negative. After clearing my mind of my own prejudices and thoughts, a totally different interpretation came to me. Our bias and old views have got to be laid aside in order to see the new. Old assumptions don’t cut it.

So, it’s time for the new box of arrows. The arrows are what…? Previously I would have seen arrows to represent prophecy and prayer and word. Now I see the arrows as our very being and also therefore our focus. The new arrows will be sharp and focused. The things that used to work are now blunt and general and ineffective. The ‘same old’ has gone and is now useless. Where, as individuals, are we focused? It’s time to focus on our true being, and being true, truly be focused. An arrow is not a bomb; it’s a specifically targeted, individually fired entity. Aimed at one small space. What is your space? What are you born for? Who are you really?

We’re all in this together so let’s, each of us, be true to who we really are and drink deeply from the one who made us as we reposition ourselves to be truly authentic.

The Refiner’s Fire

Charles Strohmer has been a friend, mentor (beyond what he realises) and encourager to many over not a few years. He has focused on the Bible as wisdom for life, applying that wisdom into… OK here is a better summary written by the man himself:

For many years I worked with individuals, small groups, NGOs, institutions, and churches to think about and to develop wisdom-based approaches in areas such as education, the business world, family and social life, cultural development, environmental stewardship, and especially the arts, communication, and inter-religious engagement. I continue to work in those areas but my chief focus in recent years entails advancing peaceable wisdom-based approaches for improving international relations, with a special focus on diplomacy, negotiations, and mediation in the context of the United States and the Middle East, including Christian, Muslim, and Jewish narratives in that big context.

In the video he is speaking into the American scene as an American / as a prophetic voice. Also take time to dip into his blog:

https://wagingwisdom.com/

Seems there are many deep concerns at this time.

  • If this is a storm, or winter, or the beginning of an ice-age (I think original to Andy Crouch) what response should we make? (And it is certainly not a storm…)
  • I was on a Skype call this week to Gary, a humble prophet who travelled with Bob Jones in his final years. Gary said he has been deep in Proverbs as there has to be a download of heaven’s wisdom to show us the way forward and through.
  • On the same Skype call was Chris, working in the media, who is saying the next wave has to be for the apologist to enable a connection. Communication and wisdom… with the media holding a key role.
  • Some talk of a mega shift every 500 years. Last one being the Reformation / Renaissance etc. Here we are now 500 years on.
  • November there are USA elections. Many nations are facing issues of immense proportion, but they are all facing the same crisis – what do we do now, not to clear up the mess of COVID etc., but to prepare for what is to come.
  • I wrote a few days ago about corruption and the deep level of corruption not being that of sexual or financial abuse but of the submission into political alignment of the church. That is being exposed – and has to be. I do not consider that John’s Gospel is deeply political but right in the middle of it there is an exposure of what that false alignment does… it was the turning point to send Jesus to the cross. If that were not to happen then they feared the Romans would come and take away their divine right!

National Health Service

We cannot follow all the UK news but last night Andy Knox (a GP and consultant within the NHS alerted us to an almost non-reported bill that the UK government has just turned down the protection regarding selling off the NHS. (Here is one reference I could find:
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/mps-nhs-vote-trade-deals-brexit-a4504631.html.)

This is something that maybe could have been predicted but is somewhat ominous. Interestingly in the past three or so weeks I had been somewhat focused on the NHS and wider health issues.

(For Andy Knox’s highly insightful thoughts some of them can be found at:
https://reimagininghealth.com/.)

I wrote an email a short while back to a couple of people who are working in the NHS and reading again thought for what it is worth putting some of the extracts from that here. (I appreciate that it is very UK focused (NHS) and that I am biased toward health care for all and not on the basis of income and therefore privatised. Apologies where what I write does not apply beyond that.)

It does not matter to me too much how one defines the demonic – classically as evil spirits or as spiritual non-personal powers (Walter Wink et al.) as the effect seems to be the same! The demonic is focused on dehumanising… hence the spirit of antiChrist denies that Jesus came in the flesh; enmity was declared to be between the seed of woman and the serpent’s seed; to fall short of the glory of God is to fail to be truly human etc. For this reason I see the NHS as a major target. Health care is easy to identify as a ‘good / Jesus-like’ career – not so easy to suggest hedge-fund management in the same category! We have also had a window into a revaluing of work with the term ‘essential workers’ during this lockdown. If healthcare is a ‘godly’ focus then we should not be surprised to realise that there is a strong attack against it fulfilling its mandate. If a dehumanisation process against workers is successful they will then find it harder to humanise those they care for. Hence I see a spiritual strategy that is to demoralise, dehumanise those who care, affect the culture at the core – like planting a poison at the centre. The next step is that once humanity is sidelined from something there is an openness to mammon (I see Jesus and Judas as a key paradigm to understand the interplay of discipleship, money and also religion.)

I see at the moment for many situations a 2 year period for preparation and significant paradigm shifts, from functionality to people centredness. I have been saying for many months that 2022 is when we will hit some major global crises. COVID is a crisis, but it is also a warning to make changes so that we are ready. If institutions can make a shift it will be surprising how many can come out the other side.

If the above is accurate then there is a window of opportunity now for the NHS. There will be some real heat that comes against (and might have my terminology wrong here) – the minister for health and others in places of authority / responsibility. But for those who are a ‘lower’ level there will be in a protected place. Although the 2 years is a window there will really be the possibility of a 5 year process ahead.

I see also that there are pockets of people in place around the nation that are pulling for a new ‘spirit’ in the NHS, so behind the scenes there will be a discovery of a growing set of hubs / clusters, an unofficial network.

The NHS is important also at this time in the context of the UK. It is not simply about defending what has been and how good it was, but it is a trend setter. The UK has to find a new identity – so this is not simply about a restoration of what was but a deep renewal taking place that will give it a new identity, and become something of a sign for the nation. Hence the battle.

I was hoping that Boris’ experience might have been a Damascus road (maybe with a small ‘d’) experience. From where I sit I am not sure it has been that – Paul said he was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, and the grace of God was not in vain toward him – maybe Boris has, at this point, not yet yielded. There will, though, be other remarkable events to some key people that will give further shake ups.

Power and politics

Corrupting Power

The well known adage by Lord Acton:

Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority, still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.

In writing about the choice of king, the first one being Saul, there are some very interesting aspects about the move to kingship. First Saul was a humble chappie, hiding in the baggage. What if Saul had never been selected as king? Would he simply have been a friendly giant wandering the land? God then instructs Samuel to tell the people what the king will do, not what Saul will do, nor what a bad king will do! Is there the indication that once we give someone an exalted title and with it authority we really are setting them up (Lord Acton quote)?

Christendom…. Here is a great article I have just read:
https://www.redletterchristians.org/christians-dont-understand-how-horrible-christendom-was-as-is/

A quote from it:

Whenever the name of Jesus is invoked to vilify any group or nation, and whenever a pastor spiritualizes hate or weaponizes scripture to oppress others, and whenever biblical rhetoric is used to inflame nationalism and spread partisan fear, we must recognize these forms of spiritual manipulation for what they are: evil. Because throughout history, Christendom has been a favorite tool of dictators, authoritarians, and countless others who selfishly used it to harm others.

The dominant place afforded to institutional Christianity in Europe is over, resulting in either a hankering back with a cry of ‘we are being marginalised’, or a re-appraisal of what was done wrongly in the name of Jesus (without writing off the genuine missionary / humanitarian work). But now…

Is there a fresh offer coming to the fore in certain places not only to give Christians a place at the table, but to sit at the right hand of authority? If ‘Christendom has been a favorite tool of dictators, authoritarians, and countless others who selfishly used it to harm others’ is there a dangerous proposal that will simply empower dictators and autocrats to bring about oppression legitimised by the use of the name of Jesus (not to mention how lies can be first ignored, but left ignored for a length of time, falsehood will become ‘truth’).

With no offer on the table in Europe we are so privileged. No need even to hide in the baggage. Yes, probably some detox still needed as the hankering after power is so strong and insidious. Add to this the COVID-19 forced break, a call to re-positioning and I hear the word H-O-P-E. Ears and heart open I think is the right response.

Watch this space

Guard the space

No not an ad for the most amazing life-changing product that you cannot afford to miss! That product comes later when I reach a level of maturity that… OK maybe a piece of good advise is don’t wait around for that to happen as a lot of life will pass you by in the meantime.

Two spaces that I think we have to watch.

My take on COVID-19

Not going away any time soon. But it is a warning to signal that we are to prepare for what is beyond it. So right through this year and into the early stages of next we will be reading the daily statistics of the virus, then…. SPACE.

2021 will be a year when there is a relief. Welcomed by the ‘back to normal’ approach as a ‘glad that is behind us now we are back where we were’. But I see it as a space opening up to breathe and get set with resources for the challenge of what is beyond. I do not see God as a destroyer who deliberately pulls things down – sometimes God does that when we stick God’s name on it and insist that it is here forever (see the Temple discourses in Jeremiah and Matthew 24). If God is not an automatic destroyer and also relates to us with a huge capacity to compromise then I see the relief as space to gather the resources for the post-COVID (not suggesting that is the right term) period. 2022 will have somewhere in it ta level of crisis that means 2021 will have been essential to give us what we need, or show that we missed it by thinking the crisis was over.

So watch the space of 2021.


Sidenote on not allowed to sing!

I heard yesterday that churches (UK and I think Spain and probably elsewhere) can meet but not SING. In the light of the dream I had from 2010 for the decade up to 2020 concerning how Christian singing shut back down the façades (https://3generations.eu/posts/2020/04/facades-no-singing-please/) I find this very interesting. If we simply complain about not being able to sing (persecution???? I don’t remember the last time I went to Tescos and only being able to buy meat offered to a variety of gods… we have it easy… or of course we can see it as all foods and goods have been offered to the god of consumerism and we have been duped all those years – take our pick but not persecution, and if it was rejoice as ‘all who seek to live a godly life will suffer persecution’). If we focus on a so-called persecution and fail to lay hold of our responsibility to be agents that should hold open what the Lord has opened to expose we will so miss it. So I see the grace of heaven coming through the legislation. Nice one.

End of sidenote!


The feminisation of the future

I am writing (I think 6 booklets) and at the moment the fourth is on the egalitarian nature of the Pauline Gospel. (One of the first revelations I ever had of the land of Spain was that there was a hidden deposit of the Pauline Gospel in the land, as no other land on the basis of biblical authority can claim to have first century apostolic prayers deposited in the land.) Anyway not suggesting I am uncovering the Pauline Gospel – if I was step aside NT, Douglas, John and a whole bunch of others that I am not on first name terms with! But I am being impacted by the Pauline Gospel, and in particular I have been knocked sideways by the terse letter to the Galatians. Some crazy stuff in there, but the absolute centralising of Jesus so that everything and anything else is blasted out of the picture. In the letter of course it is Jewishness that gets the main treatment but also in the very careful change of language of Gal. 3:28 when it comes to gender difference is so noticeable.

So the space here I suggest we have to watch is that there is coming a feminisation into society. Back in the 90s I wrote a book I was very happy with back then ‘For Such a Time as This‘ where it proposed that there were no barriers to the full participation of women at any level, including female apostles in Scripture and hence today. Happy with it (then) as any book written is a snapshot in time of where the writer was at that time. The book was saying women can and are encouraged to enter the space (and my focus back then was on ‘church space’… but back then majority space was shaped by a masculinity). Now…

There is space opening, which will affect economics, politics, commerce etc., that is feminised – i.e. a different way of operating that (excuse my ignorance) will be much more collaborative than competitive. That space will be entered more easily by women but is open to men as in Christ there is no ‘male and female’.


Maybe in all the above there are connections. If the façades coming up expose a ‘masculinity in Adam’ form of the institutions that have shaped the public square, then the ‘feminisation in Christ’ can follow. As there is neither male and female in Christ of course the language is struggling to gain any real traction. Meanwhile let’s not complain about not singing. Surely we can answer the question of ‘where then do you worship’ by normally before I get out of bed, while making breakfast my heart rises to heaven, and when I come to eat I do find a real thanksgiving rise up and…

2020 – 2022

A Two year Window

In the past days I have been on a few Zoom calls and some of what I see for the next season has been pulled on. I thought it might be of some value to put it down here, some of which in bits and pieces I have shared before. It needs of course to be weighed and if there is a projection on my part of expectations those will colour what I write. Prayer and revelation is not here to give us what we expect but what we need to enable participate in any forward God movement. Finally any sight has to be supplemented by sight from others.

In the first few days of January it became clear to us that 2020 was not going to be a year that could be planned out. It would be a disrupted year, the important part was that we could not plan as per normal but would have to respond as the disruptions occurred. For many this has been a painful year and I do not write in any way to diminish that experience; we weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. I acknowledge the diversity of experiences but also want to give a focus to push against the hope of those who are simply waiting for things to return to normal. God makes everything beautiful in its time and we have to discover what it is that God is beautifying.

It is fairly self-evident that there is a RESET taking place. The concept of a reboot is vital for many sectors, and the use now of the term ‘essential workers’ has been a redemptive and perceptive phrase. I suspect it will soon disappear from the active vocabulary as a measure of recovery comes. Crisis has value if we change… if not!!

There will be a bouncing back… it is OK to go with it to a measure, but the focus has to remain on the reset. However as the bouncing back is heralded (2021?) we should not get carried away. The reset has to go much deeper that a temporary change (everything online) and then back to a thank God here comes the normal!

For those who are seeking to find what God has in this season, as opposed to waiting for this season to end, it is not so much a reboot but a reset. The vision might need to be tweaked but the vision is the vision. A refocus might be required, but it is essentially about resetting. As in many sports there comes a point that the team needs to be reset in order to achieve the desired outcome. Perhaps the format of the team, or new plays need to be introduced. We are now in a period of reset and even when a measure of recovery comes, even if we might be able to go with it to some extent, the important element remains that the reset needs to be completed.

There is a 2 year window to push through this reset, ideally if it can be done in 18 months the better. In 2022 – I do not suspect at the beginning – I see global elements of crises appearing that will bust open the cracks. COVID-19 is serious but is also a sign of what is to come, and is signalling to us now that there is a period of time in which we can get ready for this.

The reset is to check alignments. There are alignments from the past season that will quickly prove to be energy sapping for the next. An important element to avoid in this season is filling all the space. There are also alignments that have become loose that need tightening up. However, we approach it the issue of ALIGNMENTS is key in this reset.

Also get ready to change direction. There will likely be for a number of people the sudden openness of new outlets that they have skirted around the edges of before. They will come with a fresh angle / approach and then open up.

The favour of God is going to be with those who are not giving themselves to protect the structures / institutions but invest in the people. This might well mean embracing what might seem a smaller influence, but invest small and deep and there will both be longer lasting results and also protection into the phase that opens in 2022.

At the same time God is at work not simply with ‘me / us’. We are not at the centre. We can flow with what God is doing, but the future is not being shaped for us as individuals. So I suggest that there are people now who are being loosened up from their former concepts that only got them thus far. The loosening will mean fresh sight to those people and also fresh space for new connections. There are many hubs being shaped at this time… a hidden few here and a hidden few there.

Coming clean

British Past

Back in the day so much prayer was focused on specifics such as the Berlin conference of the late 19th Century that carved up Africa for the Europeans. Alongside 13 European nations the USA was also involved. Alongside specifics a large amount of effort went into ‘rolling up the Roman road’, seeking to undo the effects of empire. We had some incredible encouraging signs and yet… But now so much seems to connect.

We should not expect that all movements that seek to address the issues are going to do it perfectly. If the body of Christ does not execute her task perfectly why do we have higher standards for the world!!

So much of history is covered over. I have found again and again that history stays hidden until uncovered through prayer. Once it is out the lid cannot be put on the box again. For the Brits among us here is a good article to check up on the British and part of our imperial history:

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jun/16/boris-johnson-lying-history-britain-empire

I am definitely not patriotic. I find that to be in direct conflict with my commitment to Jesus. I cannot give any allegiance that conflicts with my allegiance to Christ. There are of course arguments as to what was achieved through empire, the sending of missionaries etc. It has even been suggested that the ‘fullness of times’ when Jesus came was the Roman Empire, one language, roads and so the gospel could spread! The context of those verses point in a radically different direction.

God maximises all possibilities. After all he even used a king in Israel! To find some good that came through something reveals nothing about the ‘thing’ in question.

The uncovering, the reaction is not going to go away. If I can be so bold as to suggest the prayer ensures that. And once we have prayed, we cannot then push it all back in cos what came out was not what we were expecting! Prayer does not unlock what we expect, it unlocks what we need.

We have hit mid-way through this decade a governmental crisis. We have leaders who are comfortable to lie. We have hit the sign of the COVID virus that is the wake up call… behind this comes the economic crisis that will have some back and forths but will come at a new level in 2022, when as yet some unforeseen combination of setbacks will hit.

Our response? Bunker down? Or use this time to allow for some personal readjustment to line up with God’s agenda. Early on in this ‘less than pretty time’ I cottoned on to the Ecclesiastes verses that God makes everything beautiful in its time. God is never inactive, never non-redemptive. There is always activity that he is involved in.

Loads of questions in this time, but I also see it as a major shift.

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